Century Foundation Announces New Working Group on Medicare Reform

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 General News
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Group Featuring Nationally Prominent Physicians and Public Health Experts Will Explore Ways to Improve Care While Reducing Waste

NEW YORK, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Century Foundation (TCF) today announced the formation of a new Working Group on Medicare Reform. TCF, a nonpartisan public policy research foundation, has assembled a group of prominent physicians and health care experts from around the country to assess the current state of Medicare and make recommendations to reform and strengthen one of the nation's most effective and enduring public programs.

The Working Group will be directed by Maggie Mahar, a fellow at the Century Foundation, author/editor of the highly respected blog Healthbeatblog.org (www.healthbeatblog.org), and author of the widely acclaimed book Money Driven Medicine: The Real Reason Health Care Cost So Much (Harper/Collins, 2006). She notes that a unique aspect of this panel is its composition. "This Working Group is composed primarily of physicians and public health officials, because they know better than anyone what's wrong with the system and what's needed to fix it," she said. "They also were chosen for this panel because they each have a reputation for being professionals who put patients first."

Working Group members include:

-- Christine Cassel, MD

President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation

-- Peter Eisenberg, MD

Medical Director, California Cancer Care

-- Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, Ph.D.

Chair, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health

-- Elliott S. Fisher, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Health Policy Research, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

Professor of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School

Senior Associate, VA Outcomes Group, White River Junction

-- Diane Meier, MD, FACP

Director, Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute

Professor, Geriatrics and Internal Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York

-- James E. Sabin, MD

Director, Ethics Program, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Clinical Professor, Departments of Ambulatory Care/Prevention and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

-- Steve Shortell, Ph.D., M.P.

Dean, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

-- Robert M. Wachter, MD

Professor and Chief of the Division of Hospital Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Chief of the Medical Service, UCSF Medical Center

Editor, AHRQ WebM&M (http://webmm.ahrq.gov) and Patient Safety Network (http://psnet.ahrq.gov)

The Working Group will create a blueprint for reform based on recommendations in the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's 2007 and 2008 reports. They will analyze the recommendations with the goal of refining, explaining, revising, or adding to them in ways that would strengthen the system. Among the issues they will consider will be:

-- revising Medicare's physician fee schedule to pay more for primary care, palliative care, and co-ordination and management of chronic diseases;

-- rethinking Medicare's fee-for-service system to reward doctors for quality, not volume;

-- creating an independent Comparative Effectiveness Institute that reviews head-to-head testing of drugs, devices, and procedures to ensure that they are effective; and

-- identifying and rewarding hospitals that provide better outcomes and higher patient satisfaction at a lower cost while helping other hospitals meet benchmarks.

Mahar believes that strong successful Medicare reform cou

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